Have you looked in mirror and thought that you appeared older than you feel? Many of the signs of aging are secondary to sun damage from ultraviolet rays that also cause skin cancer. While shielding your skin from the sun starting in childhood is best, it’s never too late to start. Prominent manifestations of sun damage include wrinkles (compare sun exposed skin to unexposed buttocks and breast skin), “broken” blood vessels, freckles, larger brown spots “age spots, liver spots”, blotchy light and dark skin, melasma, blackheads of temples and cheeks, and persistent redness of the sides of the neck and central chest. Prevent further sun damage by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater year round. Wearing hats, long sleeves/protective clothing, sunglasses and seeking shade when possible are also advised.
UV rays are strongest in spring and summer between 10am and 4pm so it’s best to schedule outdoor activities with that in mind. Remember that UV rays penetrate clouds so even when you don’t feel the heat of the sun it’s important to protect your skin. Beneficial skin care products including vitamin C serums or gels to help stimulate new collagen can be applied during the day under sunscreen. Retinol or tretinoin containing creams applied at night can also stimulate new collagen, improve discolored skin and reduce fine lines. Various office procedures including microneedling, and the Fraxel Laser can improve wrinkles. Photorejuvenation with BBL and Fraxel can be used to improved brown spots and blotchy discoloration, The VBeam Laser is valuable for treating unwanted blood vessels and redness, and gentle chemical peels can improve melasma. (Adapted from The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal 2022)
If you have questions regarding prevention and/or treatment of sun damaged skin please schedule an appointment with your dermatologist: 310-626-4631